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Forty Four Ways to Figure Out if You Are a Good Leader

Posted on January 21, 2010 by Brian

My partner recently sent out a neat article:

11 Business Lessons From The Battlefield

As I read through the lessons I naturally began asking myself “Do I do that?”, “How am I on that one?”, and “I wonder how my managers would rate me on that one.”  So to make things a bit easier, I went ahead and turned the 11 lessons into 44 more specific questions.  Here you go:

Eleven Lessons Become Forty Four Questions

  1. Do I genuinely respect the people who work for me?
  2. Do I help my employees reach their career goals in tangible ways?
  3. Am I more interested in what is best for my employees or what is best for me or the company?
  4. Do I conduct myself in a sober, professional way?
  5. Do I make employees feel degraded or humiliated?
  6. Do I provide relevant, positive reinforcement?
  7. Do I criticize more than I compliment?
  8. Do my employees know who I believe the star performers are?
  9. Do I actively listen to people?
  10. Do I allow employees to choose their own path much of the time?
  11. Do I overrule my employees plan too frequently or without giving them a chance?
  12. Do I bend or give in on nonessential issues or questions?
  13. Do my employees believe I can distinguish between essential and nonessential?
  14. Do I seek clarity on an issue before correcting or reprimanding?
  15. Do I know when and how to give an order?
  16. Am I timid about giving orders?
  17. Am I condescending when giving orders?
  18. Am I direct about what needs to happen when giving orders?
  19. Do I make eye contact when giving orders?
  20. Do I remain cool and firm, without yelling, when giving orders?
  21. Am I passive aggressive when giving orders?
  22. Do I validate grievances when giving orders?
  23. Do I explain why an order is being given?
  24. Am I afraid to insist on a standard?
  25. Am I afraid to tell people what to do?
  26. Am I afraid to demand quality?
  27. Am I a “yeller” or “nice guy freakout yeller”?
  28. Am I meek?  In the “poor leader” way or the “inherit the earth” way?
  29. Do I do an appropriate level of inspection of work?
  30. Do I care about output and results?
  31. Do I allow employees to become lazy and complacent?
  32. Do I care about the unglamorous tasks?
  33. Do I see myself as above the unglamorous tasks?
  34. Am I clear about expectations?
  35. When giving a task, am I clear about what the task is, who has to do it, and by when or clear that my employee needs to identify the task, assign it, and establish a due date with his/her team?
  36. Do I believe everyone gives a crap about my credentials, or should?
  37. Do I give a crap about my credentials?
  38. Have I established a reputation for competence, common sense, and listening?
  39. Once a path is established, do I balance small, firm corrections with steady, disciplined execution?
  40. Do I have a tendency to waffle on initiatives or change direction frequently?
  41. Do my employees have a clear understanding of the paths/initiatives I believe are important?
  42. Do I address problems in a clear, timely manner?
  43. Do I have a tendency to side step problems and let them fester?
  44. And lastly, if I sent these questions to my managers as a survey, would I do anything tangible with the responses?


If you’re interested in more leadership insight from a military perspective, here is a link to the widely distributed 18 Lessons in Leadership by General Colin Powell.


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